Covid 19 crisis
One of the upsides from the Covid crisis has been the extra time available to exercise indoors or outdoors doing yoga or home gym and especially the chance to explore Tokyo’s deserted streets.
By adding 10% volume extra week the risk of injury subsides and fitness returns in no time. I impressed myself before long running from Ogikubo to Ueno; 32km in 3 hours.Some of the credit should go to my Nike Vapor Flys with the carbon plates. Not only can minutes drop of running times, but they are much easier on the body and recovery time is faster.
Tokyo is actually a great city for running; it’s possible to run for ages without having to stop at traffic lights due to over bridges and numerous massive parks. Most convenience stores have toilets for those with runners’ trots!
The rivers that snake around the city, make superb running routes too however some cars fail to pay much attention at the intersections.
The majority of cherry blossom parties were cancelled but it was probably the prime time to run here. You could sprint down Takeshita st in Harajuku as fast as you want and enjoy other sightseeing spots without worrying about bumping into anyone.
It’s possible to run very fast up the Arakawa river, the Tamagawa river makes for a superb long run, some of my favorite parks are the Shakujii, Koganei and Hikarigaoka. Inokashira Koen has a no thrills 400m track where you can race people of all ages!
Lake Tamako also has oodles of options, regret not getting up to Takao but it’s been mostly off limits. The Imperial Palace circuit is a classic run but can’t recommend running in the middle of the day in the middle of summer like I did last year; very nearly melted and was close to dehydration.
Humidity can be close to 90% even at midnight, I found myself sweating like a pig in a sauna!
For anyone who is more of a social runner and enjoys a good beer the Mikkeller Bar has a running group which jogs pretty leisurely around Yoyogi Koen on the first Saturday of each month.
The reward is a fine free beer at the finish.
There are other running groups that are well organized and very welcoming, particularly for trail running and some of those crazy people who want to run ultras. From what I’ve seen, runners have increased, young kids too no doubt bored of spending too much time at home.
The parks have seemed crowded but it’s good to see people exercising more and cycling too is on the rise. One of the best times to run is at night, I guess early morning is just as good but that wasn’t going to happen for me!
Perhaps people have got to know the parks and rivers a bit better which is no doubt healthier than the karaoke and pachinko parlors!
The next step will probably be to get to explore places in Japan that people haven’t been before, before we can start flying all over the world willy nilly like we used to.
In New Zealand we have a saying we should explore our own backyard first. But many North Islanders have never been to the South and vice versa. I was lucky to explore Kichijoji-jima and Miyake-jima last year. So close to Tokyo but it feels like a world away!
As for my running, I’ve done 800km in just over a couple of months and the tread has worn out on my runners. Will be getting too hot to run as much too but I’d like to extend my energy for other exercises. Yoga, chin ups, push ups but no Pachinko!
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